Just what are those people doing anyway?
The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) is an international non-profit educational organization devoted to the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods prior to 1600 AD. Members try to reproduce various aspects of the culture and technology of their period, as well as doing more traditional historical research. The SCA sponsors events such as tournaments, feasts, and collegium sessions where members dress in clothing based on styles worn in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and participate in activities based on the civil and martial skills of the period.
There are all kinds of things to do within the Society. Probably the most recognizable aspect is the combat, based on the chivalric tournaments of the High Middle Ages or the later rapier duels of the Renaissance. Other martial activities include archery, thrown weapons, and equestrian arts as well. Besides combat, period activities range from bardic performances (vocal or instrumental music) to period Arts & Sciences such as needlework, dancing, and woodworking.
One of the aspects that sets us aside from other educational organizations is that people in the SCA choose a name that is plausibly period, and dress accordingly. Society meetings and events are open to the public, but, in keeping with the emphasis on living history rather than dramatic performance, everyone in attendance is asked to make an attempt to preserve the atmosphere and fit in with the SCA’s standards of dress and behavior. All ages are welcome, and we encourage kids to participate as well!
The SCA was incorporated in 1968, but counts its years from the first tournament, actually a medieval theme party which was held on May 1, 1966. It also maintains a central heraldic registry and sets overall standards for safety and organizational structure, within which each kingdom works as an independent unit. The “Known World” consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Within each Kingdom are local chapters known as cantons, colleges, forts, shires, provinces, or baronies, depending on their size and location. We are in the Province of Mooneschadowe (Stillwater and surrounding areas), which is within the Kingdom of Ansteorra (Oklahoma and Texas [except for El Paso]).
Each Kingdom has a King and Queen. The Armored Chivalric combatant who emerges victorious from each individual Kingdom’s semiannual “Crown Tournament” is named King (or Queen!) for a period of around six months. While the rulers hold executive authority, ongoing administration at each level is entrusted to the civil service of appointed officers, which include the Seneschal (President/Business manager), Knight and Rapier Marshals (oversee combat and safety), Hospitaler (PR and new member relations), Chronicler (publishes the chapter Newsletter), Herald (helps with creating authentic names and armory), Reeve (treasurer), and the Arts & Sciences Minister (fosters education).
Almost every weekend there are events somewhere in the kingdom. There will be Rapier, Chivalric, and Archery competitions as well as Bardic and Arts and Sciences. These weekends are for fun and relaxation, a way to escape from the demands of everyday life. So, come join us in yesterday, where you can forget work and be the person you want to be. Bring the children. They (and you) will enjoy learning, playing the games not yet forgotten, the courtly graces, dancing, or performing.
Check out these web pages for more information, and if you have any questions, please let us know!